Tuesday, October 6, 2020

MLM Absurdities: Does essential oil diffusion actually clean the air?

There was a series of wildfires in California in recent weeks, and the air quality around SF Bay Area suffered as a result. The woo peddlers and the oil slick huns decided to use this opportunity to push pseudo-science, such as the idea that "diffusing essential oil will clean the air". 

Here is one example: 

Smoky House? Helpful tip: simmer pot of water on stove w/ 
cedar, fir, thyme, sage, or rosemary (or any combo of them!)
it attaches to smoke particles pulling to the ground to help clean the air and make it more breathable
Add drops of peppermint oil every 20 minutes for extra soothing relief

Note the specific claims, and alleged mechanism "attaches to smoke particles pulling to the ground to help clean the air". 

If you google "essential oil clean air", there's no surprise you'll find doTerra on top of the list. 

However, the mechanism was not discussed. 

Doesn't stop others from making vague generalizations though. Some even used pseudo-science babble... 

Let's go through the claims one at a time, shall we? 

Scam Analysis: The Fake Rental Scam

Fake Rental Scam happens frequently. With free listing service like Craigslist, but also other rental sites, it's proliferating like mad, as it costs virtually nothing to perpetrate, and yields quite a bit of money at a time. It was estimated that 12% of all rental listings on Craigslist are probably fake. And with COVID-19 running around, it's getting WORSE!  

What's even stranger, you can be victimized even if you're not renting!

I will detail three variations of rental scams, how they work, and how you can spot and avoid them. 

First variation of the Scam:

A1) A is looking for a place to rent, found a listing by B (on Craigslist or similar place). Prices are below market, and it seems to be a VERY nice place.

A2) A contacts B, who claims to be out of town. B will probably cite a sob story about how previous tenant broke the place and it was a hassle to fix, and he is trusting A to be a good tenant. Now, if A will send the deposit via (untraceable) means like Western Union, Paypal, Venmo, Cash App, and so on, B will send the keys via courier, or even "left with a neighbor". There is a discount if A chooses to prepay the rent in advance instead of month to month. A sent the money.

Generally, B was never heard from again. Though sometimes, for lulz, they will claim the "the old tenant needs a few extra days". 

Turns out, the photos are real, but the place is not for rent. It was cloned from a real estate 'for sale' listing.

Some really blatant scammers will tell A to "go peek through the window", leading to police calls about a prowler or worse. 

This variation is often perpetrated by foreign scammers who know just enough English to clone listings and conduct rudimentary email and maybe text convos, but will probably not talk to you live (but some may). Mistakes can be blamed on autocorrect. Their reply often contains a sob story (previous tenant trashed their place), a lot of virtue signaling (they're doing missionary work in X, they are traveling salesperson, they are in the military, etc.) about why they can't meet you, but you should trust them and send them money anyway. They may even fake a "credit check" (to steal your identity).  But there is no house to rent. They take your money and disappear.

RECOMMENDATION: NEVER rent from someone out of town, EVEN IF they are using a "local" area code phone number (those are easy to get with VOIP). 

WARNING: Do NOT accept even if they claim to have a "relative" or "friend" in town to meet with you. It could be just another scammer. Also see second variation below. 

But wait, there's more!